Education Technology

Yards of Tin

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students solve a problem involving surface area of cylinders. They find the surface area and the amount of tin needed to make the cylindrical parts of ten long open pipes.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 78 - 86 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • Review the four steps of problem solving with students
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the activity procedures:

  • Read the problem and understand the dimensions of the ten longest pipes in the concert organ
  • Cut a cardboard or paper towel cylinder along its height to form a rectangle
  • Relate the surface area of the cylinder to the area of a rectangle
  • Find the scale of the drawing that shows the length and the width of the concert organ pipes
  • Find the height, diameter, and circumference of the ten longest pipes
  • Calculate the surface area and the square footage of tin needed to make the cylindrical part of the pipes
  • Create a chart with the details of the height, diameter, circumference, and surface area of the pipes
  • Write an explanation about the solution


  • Finding surface area
  • Solve problems involving calculation of surface area of cubes and open cylinders
  • After the Activity

    Students examine the various solutions presented.

  • Review student results
  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary